Emmeline Pankhurst lived at Nelson Street from 1890 to 1907: in October 1903 she called together at the house a few female members of the Independent Labour Party. From that meeting the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed, aiming to win the vote for women. It was a fight which involved thousands of women and brought violence, danger, imprisonment and even death for some. Mrs Pankhurst's daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, were involved; the former turning to religious preaching, and the latter to Labour politics and pacifism, in later life. Full suffrage, for all women aged over 21 years, was not achieved until 1928.
The trust opened the two houses in 1987 as a memorial to that struggle and as a centre for women, offering an exhibition area to display women's issues, a gallery for female artists, a cafe, creche facilities, a bookshop, a printing press and space for conferences, classes and social events. Recently the centre's financial situation has worsened dangerously: its own self-generated income will not cover all its costs and the Department of Environment, via Manchester City Council, has rejected the centre's application for funding. The trust is now urgently appealing for pounds 100,000 for an endowment fund in the long term and aims to raise enough to pay at least one assistant to keep the door open in the short term. For further information, contact: The Pankhurst Trust, 60-62 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester M13 9WP, telephone 061-273 5673.
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